Commonwealth Games: England's Jo Harten targeting netball final

Last Updated: 23/07/14 12:44pm

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Jo Harten says reaching the Commonwealth Games final is the focus for England's netballers.

The 25-year-old, 6ft 2inch shooter spoke to Sky Netball from Team England's training village in Glasgow on Sunday. With three days to go until the start of the Games, Harten, who plays for New Zealand side Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, has been at the heart of England coach Anna Mayes' shooting set-up since 2007, and now, with an ANZ Most Valuable Player honour on her mantle, is ready to help the 2010 bronze medallists go at least one better in Glasgow.

Sky Netball: how are the squad preparing for the Games?

Jo Harten: We're just finding our feet in all the accommodation, food halls and the general village life here in Glasgow. I'm really enjoying the preparation so far.

We were in a holding camp down in Bath for four days before heading here and we had some real hard training sessions there and continued the work we've been doing throughout the year; working really hard on defence and attack. We've also had some practice games against England A. We've had some really good kick outs and it's been a really successful week so far.

Sky Netball: you were named joint winner of the ANZ Championships' MVP award, does that give you extra confidence going in to the Games?

Jo Harten: Coming back from the ANZ I had some positive performances over there and I really wanted to bring that form back over and help the English side with our Commonwealth Games preparation and getting a medal in Glasgow. At the moment my focus is solely on being a part of this English team and forgetting what's happened this year and giving everything to England now.

Magic: Jo in action for her New Zealand-based domestic club Wakato Bay of Plenty Magic

Sky Netball: will it be a big advantage that you, and four other Team England players, regularly come up against New Zealand and Australia's best in the ANZ?

Jo Harten: It is an advantage and I'm going to be up against a lot of my team mates over in New Zealand if we play the Silver Ferns with their defenders Casey [Kopua] and Leana [de Bruin]. It will be interesting if we face New Zealand to see how I perform against them and what they give back against me as well. In terms of the Australians, who we play second in the pool stages, we're really prepared for what they're going to bring at us as a team, to see that from the likes of myself, Eboni [Beckford-Chambers] and Geva [Mentor] on individuals makes a really good match up.

"Coming back from the ANZ I had some positive performances over there and I really wanted to bring that form back over and help the English side with our Commonwealth Games preparation and getting a medal in Glasgow."
Jo Harten

Sky Netball: you've played with Pam Cookey in the circle for most of your international career, but her injury means other players will get an opportunity, is that exciting for you?

Jo Harten: It is really exciting. Obviously we're devastated for Pam and it still feels slightly odd that she's not here and leading us, but we've got some really good talent in Helen [Housby] and Kadeen [Corbin]; this is their first Commonwealth Games so it's really exciting for them but also they're bringing up some really good netball and some really good intensity in training and the other teams don't quite know what they're capable of because they haven't shown their full potential internationally yet. For me, as another shooter in that circle it's really exciting and we've got Rachel Dunn as well who adds that experience.

Sky Netball: is gold the target for England?

Jo Harten:  Yes I think so. We want to get to that final which is something we've never done before and we realise that is a big task for us. It would be a big step for us to take, but our preparations are going really well and we've done everything possible behind the scenes to make sure we can deliver on court, not only for us, but for our fans as well. That is the focus and that is the target.

Sky Netball:  will these Games have a lasting legacy on netball as sport?

Jo Harten: It's going to be huge. Even talking to Sky Netball - this kind of media interest didn’t happen pre-Delhi and it's a really positive sign that the media is interested. We're also really close to home so we're going to have a huge fanbase in support. It's a really exciting time for netball and also for England Netball. We can't wait to crack on.

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